As people become more aware of the implications of online privacy, there is a growing demand among consumers for businesses to take their data protection obligations seriously. It doesn’t matter what industry your business operates in, if you collect, handle, or store any data about your customers, then you have both a legal and moral obligation to ensure that data remains safe. Businesses simply can’t afford to be lax when it comes to their procedures for collecting and storing data.
You don’t need to be a technology whizz, or even have a particularly good understanding of computers in order to keep customer data safe. Good data protection is largely about common sense; as long as you can remember some key rules, you should find that data protection more or less takes care of itself.
You should treat all of the information that you collect from your customers as being confidential information. Even the most mundane pieces of data about your customers can be used nefariously by malicious actors. By treating every piece of data as if it’s important, you avoid a situation whereby some bits of data are seen as insignificant and therefore not really worth protecting.
If you have some robust data protection policies in place, you should be able to point to any piece of data that your business collects and explain exactly why you are collecting it. Ideally, there should be no data on your system that you do not know the origins and the purpose of. Simply gathering data for the sake of it will not help you at all; in fact, the more junk data you have, the harder it is to pick out the useful data when you are performing analytics. It is also very difficult to justify the collection of data that you have no identifiable use for.
This is data protection in its most literal sense. While data might seem like something abstract and ethereal, it does physically exist in a meaningful way. Should the physical medium upon which the data is stored become damaged, it can render the data inaccessible for good. You should always make sure that important data is backed up regularly. Should the worst occur and your data becomes inaccessible, look for a service like Secure Data Recovery who can help you recover some or all of it.